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February 13, 2012

the science behind a tear-jerking song

in the wsj, michaeleen doucleff examines what makes adele's song so effective ::

"Twenty years ago, the British psychologist John Sloboda conducted a simple experiment. He asked music lovers to identify passages of songs that reliably set off a physical reaction, such as tears or goose bumps. Participants identified 20 tear-triggering passages, and when Dr. Sloboda analyzed their properties, a trend emerged: 18 contained a musical device called an "appoggiatura."

An appoggiatura is a type of ornamental note that clashes with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound. "This generates tension in the listener," said Martin Guhn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who co-wrote a 2007 study on the subject. "When the notes return to the anticipated melody, the tension resolves, and it feels good.""

read more here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213010291701378.html

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Comments (1)

anytime I hear a song with a sus4 in it, I usually like it...

Posted by: jolyon at February 16, 2012 5:26 PM

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